Jesus sends his disciples out, to round up the lost sheep of Israel and to spread the the Good News of the kingdom he is proclaiming. He tells them to leave those homes and towns that do not welcome them and issues a dire warning about those unwelcoming towns: what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah will be like nothing in comparison to what will happen to them.
Hospitality was a very important part of the ancient world, in particular, the Jewish tradition called for hospitality to be generously given to travelers. So Jesus' mistreatment is all that much more shocking. Eventually Jesus extends the cultural traditions of hospitality he was reared in to include the whole world. All are invited into this kingdom he is proclaiming, but there is a requirement of hospitality, of welcoming the stranger.
Who is the stranger? To whom is it that we are called to be hospitable?
Copyright 2009, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.